Caracal cat owner ticketed, ordered to find them new home

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit woman has been ordered to find another home for her four African caracals after one of the wild cats spent hours on the loose after escaping its enclosure earlier this week.

Royal Oak police have issued Elaine Westfall five citations. She only has a few days to remove her pets.

“They’ve got to be gone by Monday — all of them,” Westfall told the Detroit Free Press. “This is not just, ‘Here, take my kitty.’ This is take my cat, my big cat, and take care of it for the rest of its life or until I can come get it. It is a responsibility. You can’t just hand it over to anybody.”

On Wednesday morning at least two of the cats got out of an enclosure.

She used raw meat to lure one back to the enclosure, but Bam Bam — described as weighing about 50 pounds (22.6 kilograms) — was captured that evening a few blocks from Westfall’s home by an animal recovery organization.

Police have said the cats are classified in an animal category that isn’t regulated by the state and that they have escaped on at least two other occasions.

Native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and India, caracals prey on rodents, other small mammals and birds.

Westfall, 62, said she didn’t know how the cats escaped and that she’s not sure the police have the authority to make her move them out.

“I don’t have any kids,” she said. “I have four-legged animals. These are my kids.”